“Your name, skin colour and accent do affect your employment opportunities,” says Amail Habib, deputy chair of the Auckland Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel.
Habib in inviting Aucklanders from ethnic as well as mainstream communities to join in a conversation about racism.
The Panel of the Auckland Council is hosting a mini-conference on racism on Saturday 27 April at AUT University in Auckland.
The focus of the conference is to discuss the extent to which racism impacts Auckland’s ability to be a diverse and inclusive city. One of the outcomes of the conference will be to provide solutions to racism in employment as this is said to affect a large number of Auckland’s ethnic communities.
“We need to address the issue of racism and how it affects employment opportunities, and to action solutions.” says Dr Camille Nakhid, Chair of the Ethnic Panel.
While there is skills shortage is many industries, Auckland also faces a heavy exodus of people leaving for better opportunities overseas, especially Australia.
With few jobs available, the job discussion for immigrants often involves employment opportunities for native Kiwis.
Earlier this month, New Zealand First political party told the Parliament that 49 temporary work visas were issued to foreigners to work as ‘checkout operators’ in New Zealand last year.
There are now about 620,000 Kiwis across the ditch and they are leaving at the rate of 30,000 a year, says NZ First leader Winston Peters.
“Most are leaving because they can’t get the job they want in their own country.”
The issue of racism is particularly important for New Zealand’s largest city Auckland. Auckland’s population was over 20% Asian and is on target to reach 30% by 2021, and “whether that is a good or bad thing, you have never been asked your opinion on population targets in this country,” says Peters.
The conference will be closely watched as it is one of the first public engagements for the newly appointed Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.Her appointment to the race relations role attracted heavy criticism in mainstream as well as social media recently. She replaces outgoing commissioner who served two five-year terms as the commissioner from 2002 to 2013.
In addition to Dame Devoy, Auckland Mayor Len Brown will also address the conference.
The council expects around 150 participants to come together to discuss an issue which is not usually talked about openly.
The Conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 2p.m. at Sir Paul Reeves Building (WG), 2 Governor Fitzroy Place, Auckland.